With people staying home and working virtually amid COVID-19, professionals have turned to LinkedIn in order to stay up to date with their network. LinkedIn is the best online professional networking tool that you should use to your advantage.

The first step in networking is to have a strong profile. Here are some tips for elevating your LinkedIn profile.

1. Choose a professional profile photo. This is crucial. Make sure your outfit is professional, only you are in the photo looking at the camera, and the lighting is good.

2. Use your summary to tell your story. Use this space to be yourself and share your unique perspective. Starting off with a simple “Welcome!” and ending with “I am excited to connect with you!” invites someone to interact with you. Here you should share your passions whether that be current jobs or projects, and why you like them. You should articulate what you uniquely can offer to be a great addition to someone’s team.

3. Attach your resume. This can be done in the featured section and is important for a future employer to see what experience you have or share your resume if needed.

4. Add your skills. This is important for recruiters to see what skills you have to offer and if those line up with their needs.

5. Ask for endorsements. Underrated! Endorsements are one of those steps that few people do but it goes a long way. Endorsements are when you reach out to someone and ask them to endorse the skills or experiences you are highlighting on your profile. This adds credibility to what you are saying when someone, especially your supervisor or boss, can back what you said.

6. Actively connect with your network. Don’t wait on people you know to reach out. If you just attended a virtual event and connected with a few people, add them on LinkedIn afterward and send them a message stating that you are excited to keep in touch. Regularly speaking with your network further solidifies your connection. Remember to be consistent and genuine because the best connections are those that are mutually beneficial.

7. Follow groups you are associated with or interested in. Another underrated feature on this site! Be sure to join Fulton Schools page to get in touch with other engineers at ASU. Check out other niche groups in order to find other people with the same interests as you. This way you can learn more about what you want in the future and how to get there from people who already did it.

8. Post about your experiences.
Posting can be scary sometimes but focus on yourself and your interests or experiences. This could be about a new job you are excited to start, some interesting current news, or a TEDTalk you resonated with. Don’t overthink it, just be yourself and keep it professional.

9. Interact with your network’s posts.
This could be as simple as congratulating someone when they graduate or get a new job. Doing this shows that you are active and want to stay in touch with those in your network.          

With all these tips in mind, you can create a welcoming and informative LinkedIn profile to connect you with future employers. LinkedIn is a great place to show everything that your resume can’t, like your personality or more experiences. Once you elevate your profile, I encourage you to reach out to someone that you don’t know or apply to one of the jobs posted. LinkedIn has all the resources to expand your network and opportunities — you just need to utilize them.

**This blog was written by peer career coach, Brittany Vidic